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Good workhorse acoustic guitar?
Old 15th May 2003
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
nemisis633's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Good workhorse acoustic guitar?

Hey everyone,

I'm attempting to purchase some sort of a workhorse acoustic for my studio as I'm tired of dealing with all these kids coming in with Takamine's and trying to make them sound good. I've got access to a friends Gibson J45 so thats kind of a pointless purchase, so I've been looking at something like a Guild D55.

any opinions on this guitar? or any other suggestions?

cheers,

Jon

with liberty and gearsluttedness for all......
Old 15th May 2003
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Saucyjack's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I've had good luck with a Larrivee...don't remember the model # but is one of their lower end models..ran about $600-700.When I was shopping around and listening it held it's own against some high dollar Martins, Gibsons and Taylors.
It records well,not as "thin" as some Martins I've heard but definitely not Boomy either.
One of my better studio purchases....
Old 15th May 2003
  #3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
I've never been one for guild acoustic guitars, to be honest. You probably want something in a parlor size- they are great for recording and very different from your friend's guitar. Larrivee makes great parlors, a Taylor big baby can even sound amazing mic'd up, I had a Goodall parlor that was hands down the best guitar I'd ever played, but that's a serious $$ investment (Chap has the same model, I think). I think I'll second Larrivee, and also suggest you look around at used stuff. There's also some wonderful guitars up at bunnybass.com - the little travel guitar sounds amazing, the Collings baby too.
Old 15th May 2003
  #4
Lives for gear
 
atticus's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I'll second the Larrivee Parlor. I have one of those and one of their OM-09's with a Koa body. Both guitars are invaluable in the studio. My brother also has a Taylor 514 that is a really nice recording guitar.
Old 15th May 2003
  #5
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
taylors are great- I have an 810 and a 310 and both are real cool dreads. I find dreadnaughts a little harder to get a really great sound out of than a smaller guitar, though. With my Goodall, I was able to just put one mic up right by the sound hole and get one of the coolest, warmest flat picked acoustic sounds I've ever heard.
Old 15th May 2003
  #6
Mindreader
 
BevvyB's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I recently bought a 10 year old Guild for $1k. Very 'even' but not particularly 'bright'. For the bright stuff I use a really cheap $400 guitar with light strings.

I wish there was one guitar out there that did everything. I could really get an acoustic guitar collection going. Danger.
Old 15th May 2003
  #7
Moderator emeritus
 
🎧 15 years
To me, the ultimate workhorse acoustics are Madtin D-18's and D-28's.

18's for a bit thinner sound with more high end, 28 for a big chunky sound.

I record Larrivees and Taylors on a regular basis, but none has ever been 'wonderful', at least when compared to a 1964 D18.
Old 15th May 2003
  #8
Lives for gear
 
vodka gimli's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Here's A Thought

Try some of the NEW Epiphones. They recently put an actual luthier in charge of their acoustics, and having played several of the prototypes, I can report that they are excellent.

Retail is $500-600usd for the PR-350. It looks like a Martin dreadnought and sounds great on tape.

Also check out old Sigma (Martin's MIJ series) guitars or any '70's MIJ guitars. Daion had a model that every session guy in town used for a while because it recorded so well.

I have a Gibson J-45 and a mid-70's MIJ Epiphone El Dorado. We also use a Collings and several Taylors, but they are a bit pricey.
Old 15th May 2003
  #9
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Yeah, but a 60s martin isn't exactly cheap (not ********ly expensive either though). I'd love a great vintage martin, but I'm more into modern guitars. I want another Goodall, or a Ryan parlor.
Old 15th May 2003
  #10
Gear Nut
 
Noah's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Not real well known, but Froggy Bottom Guitars are amazing ( www.froggybottomguitars.com ). Michael Millard is an amazing guitar builder, and a great guy. I have played a bunch of his guitars, as well as Larrivee's and Santa Cruz's etc. I gotta say he makes a really nice instrument. I'm pretty good friends with William Ackerman and he swears by Froggy Bottoms.

They come in all shapes and sizes, and you can pretty much get the guitar and sound that you want. Used ones are too expensive.

My personal acoustic guitar is a Gurian, which is also a really nice sounding hand built guitar. I think Paul Simon uses a Gurian quite a bit. You can find them occasionally on ebay and at better guitar stores. Get a pre fire one though.

Good luck, getting a good guitar is a fun experiance!

Noah
Old 15th May 2003
  #11
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
froggy bottoms are great- I'm actually going to play a few soon. If we're talking boutique acoustic guitars, it's a totally different deal than workhorse acoustics. Froggy's are the upper echelon of small manufactured shops. I'd place them above collings, in my book. But I'd also put Goodall above Froggy in terms of personal preference. If someone just wanted a sweet martin style guitar, I'd say go get a Goodall OM. It's got the Martin OM thing down, plus has its own voice which is just angelic.
Old 15th May 2003
  #12
Gear Nut
 
Noah's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
BattleAngel, you are correct that a Froggy Bottom isn't exactly a workhorse guitar. I have seen some used prices in the 1.5-2K range though.

I've never played a Goodall, but I would jump at the chance.

Hmm, I could talk guitars all day...time to get back to work.

Noah
Old 15th May 2003
  #13
Jax
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Seagull

My guitarist has a great sounding Seagull 12 string. That's the only Seagull I've heard. If they make 6 strings that sound just as good, I'd pick one up. The 12 was only around $600 and to his ears, it beat out all the Martin's/Taylor's in the audition room.
Old 15th May 2003
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Meriphew's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I use a Gibson Gospel acoustic as my main go to guitar for recording. Guarunteed great sounds to tape.
Old 15th May 2003
  #15
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
I like Seagulls, and I own two. One is a 12 string dreadnaught size that has a kind of dried-out sound and not as much bass as you would expect, and though it's a sort of weird sound, I really love it for some things. I've met other Seagull and Simon&Patrick (same company, different label) 12's that are great conventional sounding 12's.

I'm a huge fan of the Seagull Grande parlor guitar. I love mine to death and think it is an amazing bargain. I've also tried the Larrivee parlor in stores and was impressed with it, and I wish I had one of those as well. (Not pure gearsluttery, since I use a bunch of different tunings.) The parlor sizes are great on their own, great in a mix, great in alternate tunings, great highstrung, great for slide. They aren't real dig-in flatpickers is the only caution I would have. A hardcore flatpicker would probably be much happier with a dreadnaught or jumbo size with a long scale length (25.4" or 25.5", though I think one or two oddballs were actually a little longer).

The only recent issue Martin that I've loved was a D-16 with maple back and sides. None of the Martin Vintage series models I've met have impressed me much. Taylors are not as impressive as they are supposed to be, wheras Seagulls seem to impress much more than they have any right to. I am partial to a bunch of the Gibson acoustics, but they can be hit or miss.

Bear
Old 15th May 2003
  #16
Gear Nut
 
max the mac's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Makes to check out for "work horse" guitars, that sound good,m and dont raise the insurance premium include.

Simon and patrick, SP6 PRO rosewood Folk.(folk/classical body, solid rosewood back and sides spruce top) (i liked it so much i bought it)
I'm not a big fan of some fo their dreadnoughts, as they sem to have a few resonances on certain models, but the spruce tops behave better than the cedar ones.

Landola J200 style and dreadnought styles... they start at about Β£400 and go up... a fair way up.... but all have been good within their market sector.

L'arrivee D05 and D10 Lovely....... nuff said... and the custom options have to be heard and SEEN to be believed....


I quite liked a few of the Norman guitars as well..... as a cheapie , the little B20?? was great for Β£300 ish... their entry level solid top... but very sweet for the money.. the dearer ones are very good.

On to some more exclusive ones.

Phil Northworthy used to make some glorious finger pickers........ dunno if he still makes independant, I had heard he went to work for Eggle.

Fylde..... I have to say, i never played one i didnt like.... although some were significantlky better than others....but if you want a bouzouki or cittern thing, you HAVE to try one.......... feckin gorgeous

K-Yairi japanese dream machines ... not many Jap accoustics please me, but these did..... easily....

Low end Taylors (Β£800-1400) are actually very useable, I have several friends who've gone this rotue, and all are unanimously pleased with their purchases, although they are a little TOO neutral for my tastes... but for a workhorse studio guitar, that could well be a plus point.

If memory serves me Correctly, Norman, Seagull and Simon&patrick are all from the same region of Canada, and i THINK all owned or part owned by Robert Godin........
L'arrivee are also form that area, but slightly further south if i recall aright///and NOT owned by Godin.

In the UK, when last I looked, L'arrivee were distributed by FCN, and Godin/Simon&Patrick by EMD, and Norman&Landola guitars By Westside (the Mesa boogie distributors as well or used to be .... )

Can you tell I used to run a guitar shop?????

I also have a number of Luthier friends across the Uk who make some lovely stuff...... I've retired from lutiery and retail..... too damn busy engineering....

Best regards
max
PS
This is not by any means an exhaustive list... but some that havent been mentioned........ there's more if you really want me to get me anorak out....


Dont forget Lowden as well........
Old 16th May 2003
  #17
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Fylde guitars definitely do rock. I played their bigger one while I was in London. Very very interesting sound, very versitile. I really liked it.

Taylors are consistantly Taylor guitars. I've never heard one that didn't sound like every other Taylor in that same model I had ever played. The tone on those only changes with set up, player, and strings. To my ear, one of the most clearly identifyable sounds, especially when using Elixers.

I've actually never heard a Seagull, but have also never heard a bad thing about one, either. Sounds like a natural for a great acoustic on a budget. The Sigma Martins, as someone here said, are also great.

Brook guitars from the UK also need a serious nod. They are great guitars- ask Ian Anderson and Martin Barre.

Lowden is also absolutely terrific if you like that thing. Personally, I feel that Goodall and Lowden are like brothers split by 'the pond.' I happen to like Goodall better, but Lowden is terrific.

The new Gibson custom shop acoustics are out of this world too.

In terms of a bargain buy, I gotta stick with the Larrivee Parlor- but if you want a workhorse that can also go to war, I'd say a Goodall OM, Grand Concert, or Parlor would be damn hard to beat.
Old 16th May 2003
  #18
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
epi

My bud, david poe has a gibson J-200 that is fab, but big bucks.
You can hear it on his records.

Another singer/songwriter I know has the epiphone verson of the J200 I think it is the EJ-200. It sounds really close and plays super nice too. they blow out the ej-200 all the time at the guitar marts, $400 ish it think. hard to beat.
Old 16th May 2003
  #19
Lives for gear
 
Tim L's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Great topic!... I've been thinking about a new acoustic myself but I'm having some real trouble finding something I like.

I have an "81" Ventura V-13 straight shoulder 'Dread'... this thing is a total freak! Ventura's aren't exactly known as being "top shelf" by any stretch but this guitar sounds wonderful. Brass nut, bridge and bridge pins, all Mahogany (neck, top, back and sides) w/Grover tuners. The guitar has a really lush quality from the Mahogany with a smooth presence added by the brass (me thinks). I haven't been able to find anything in the under $1000 category that gets me anywhere close to the sound of this guitar... does anyone even make a guitar with brass fittings anymore(?)... anyhooo, I'm certainly watching the suggestions on this one.
Old 16th May 2003
  #20
Lives for gear
 
atticus's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Some of the older Gibson LG series guitars are quite good in the studio as well. I used to own a '54 LG-2 and it rocked. I also have a fondness fo older Guild D-25's, which I have found to be wonderful fingerstyle guitars.
Old 16th May 2003
  #21
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
How about for Classical? That's my next purchase.
Old 16th May 2003
  #22
Lives for gear
 
Ruphus's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
If you come across a Tacoma give it a try. These are modern build guitars with sound for the buck like I Β΄havnΒ΄t heard comparable products yet. I have a massive wood DM9 with natural finsih ( really nice sound for only 800$ ). Mahagoni smells sweet.

For classicals I found the best specimesn mostly among spanish brands. Once I even grabbed a Hernandez for only 250$. Although the much more expensive Aria ( Korean made ) is somehow sounding better than the Hernandez, the cheapo has something that made me prefer it since a while now.

Ruphus
Old 16th May 2003
  #23
Lives for gear
 
DigitMus's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I'll second the Tacoma. I keep 3 Tacoma acoustics in the studio: a DB12 dreadnaut, a Chief (with the 'paisley' soundhole) and a Papoose (3/4 size tuned to 'A'). They record wonderfully, and have impressed several guitarists who usually play Taylors, Martins, Gibsons etc. Great bang for the buck.

Scott
Old 16th May 2003
  #24
Lives for gear
 
vodka gimli's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Classical GAS

I've had great success with Yamaha gut string guitars.

Any mid-level model will do. There are usually plenty for sale used, since many parents end up buying one for Junior's "first guitar", which, when it doesn't make the "Korn sound", gets traded in for an Ibanez! I paid $125 w/hsc for mine, model G-31II.

Fresh strings are a must, I favor the Ernie Ball "Ernesto Palla" brand with High Tension. Markley makes good strings, too

If you have the budget, check out the Taylor classical.
Old 16th May 2003
  #25
Lives for gear
 
sonic dogg's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I've got to agree with the Taylor comments and also the Tacoma recomendation..
Ive got a 414 Taylor that is my all around acoustic. It works great live and is a cinch in the studio.As was said, the setup determines the sound.Deep and thuddy, Elixors...Bright and upfront, Martin Sp's...ymmv
The Tacoma guitars are amazing. And they have models that sell in the $400 range. As for the Takamines, they do sound okay amped up but acoustically they suck hind quarters.
The Seagulls are really a huge sound and quite affordable.
I have an old Ibanez about 1976 vintage.Its called a Ragtime.Its a plywood top,has an odd shaped soundhole and a wide neck.Suppossedly made for Django kind of jazz. It sounds INcRedIblE!!..Like an old archtop on steroids.I use it a lot for bed tracks.I think I might have paid a couple hundred for it.
A pre 70's Guild is still a bargain as the rediculous pricing hasnt quite hit there as hard as Gibson and Martin.
One used guitar you should look for is an older Yarii. These were 'lawsuit' guitars in the 70's.I've yet to find one of their solid tops that didnt sound and play as well as their Martin-built conterparts.
Old 16th May 2003
  #26
Gear Nut
 
max the mac's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
check these out for classicals...... not sure about US distribution.... But bloody LOVELY.... http://www.jhs.co.uk/manrod.html
Old 16th May 2003
  #27
Lives for gear
 
Ruphus's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Re: Classical GAS

Quote:
Originally posted by vodka gimli
I favor the Ernie Ball "Ernesto Palla" brand with High Tension. Markley makes good strings, too

Vodka,

I take the Augustine blue set since decades now. Have you tried them too and would you recommend Ernie Balls or Markley over them?

Greets,

Ruphus
Old 16th July 2003
  #28
Lives for gear
 
infiniteposse's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Hi all-

i hopped into this thread way late but it interests me as I love acoustics and wouldn't mind investing in one specifically for recording. I've got a great early-mid 70's Gibson Dove that sounds amazing, but tends to fall into the "huge" sounding department and I'd like a little more variation.

I was interested in the comments on the Larrivee Parlors. They have a few choices in wood. Would anyone suggest one choice above another?

Thanks
Old 16th July 2003
  #29
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
On the classic guitar, I'd look for a used Hirade No. 8 or a Guild Mark V.

On the workhorse acoustic, I'd suggest a Tacoma parlor size. I've got a Tacoma PK30.

Steve
www.mojopie.com
Old 17th July 2003
  #30
Gear Maniac
 
ghoost's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
For the $$ it's almost impossible to beat the Seagull / Simon & Patrick (same co.) To me "workhorse guitar" means one you'e not worried about someone accidently banging and know that it's still gonna sound petty damn good, even if that means a few EQ tweeeks heh I think about this every time I put my near mint 27 yr old Guild into some kid's hands because his axe isn't gonna do aany justice to what I'm trying to acheive.

I have a Seagull 12. Got it used at GC on impulse. It was hanging on the wall with other 12's running 5 - 10 x as much. Iswear the only one up there that sounded better was a Guild. I keep meaning to pick up one of their 6's (mahogany w/cedar top). I'm sure the next time I hand my Guild over I'll remind myself again
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